A month after a deranged mother-murderer shot up that elementary school in Connecticut in 2012, California state Sen. Leland Yee, 65, described by the Los Angeles Times as “a hero of gun regulators,” helped introduce what was seen as one of the toughest pieces of gun control legislation in the country, an attempt to ban all across California the “bullet button.”
If you don’t know a “bullet button” is, it’s another device, like the old “thumbhole stock,” designed specifically to comply with the ridiculous language of absurd “gun-control” laws.
California years ago banned “large” (meaning “regular”) magazines which can be quickly changed by pushing a magazine release lever, see, requiring that rifles have “fixed” magazines that can be removed only by using a tool.
Scratching their heads, manufacturers came up with a release lever that can be operated only with a tool – pushing in a recessed button with, say, the tip of a bullet — in order to comply with the law. Gun-banners, of course, responded by trying to ban the new, legal configuration (designed to meet a requirement THEY had set), shrieking that it’s merely an attempt “to “get around the law” – kind of like saying that if you drive 59 miles per hour, you’re trying to “get around” a law designed to prevent high-speed driving by setting a 60 mph speed limit.
“We must limit access to weapons that can result in such catastrophe and mass murder,” Sen. Yee said.
Yee’s legislation was eventually folded into a package of proposals that were vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown last October.
After the veto, Yee said he was “recommitted” to passing his legislation, claiming it would “protect the public while keeping an appropriately narrow scope.”
Although I don’t know why it would surprise anyone – you thought politicians had principles and were only trying to “protect the children”? – there was thus apparently some shock in certain quarters in late March when state Sen. Yee was busted by FBI agents on arms trafficking and corruption charges.
Mr. Yee has not been convicted of anything and is entitled to a presumption of innocence. But what FBI agents contend in affidavits filed with the court is that Yee secretly offered to connect an undercover FBI agent with an international arms trafficker in exchange for campaign contributions — $30,000 to date.
During the investigation, the undercover agent mentioned his desire to spend as much as $2.5 million on automatic “shoulder-fired” weapons and missiles, the complaint said.
The complaint quotes Yee as saying “Once things start to move, it’s going to attract attention. We just got to be extra-extra careful.”
Among the other 25 defendants rounded up were Yee’s campaign aide, Keith Jackson, and Raymond Chow, a supposedly “former” gang leader in San Francisco’s Chinatown better known there as “Shrimp Boy.”
Yee, a former San Francisco mayoral candidate, had been running to be California’s next secretary of state. After spending one night in jail he withdrew from that race. The following day the Legislature voted to suspend him from the state Senate. On March 31 Yee’s lawyer indicated he would plead not guilty, although Gov. Jerry Brown called on him to resign anyway.
In an affidavit filed in federal court on March 23, FBI special agent Emmanuel Pascua said Yee attracted the attention of the FBI through Chow, who was described in the complaint as “the Dragonhead, or leader, of the San Francisco-based Chee Kung Tong organization.”
Yee lost his campaign for mayor of San Francisco in November, 2011. That left him with $70,000 in campaign debt. As Yee prepared to run for secretary of state, Pascua said he and Jackson sought donations to retire that debt from an undercover agent.
In January, Pascua said Yee met with Jackson and the undercover agent at a coffee shop, where they discussed getting the weapons from Russia. “Do I think we can make some money? I think we can make some money,” Yee said, according to Pascua’s affidavit. “Do I think we can get the goods? I think we can get the goods.”
Pascua reports Yee, Jackson, and the undercover agent met again in February, at which point the state senator dismissed ethical concerns about the weapons deal, saying “People want to get whatever they want to get. Do I care? No, I don’t care. People need certain things.”
So when law-abiding citizens — de facto members of the militia — want to acquire firearms of military usefulness, a right which the Constitution says may not be infringed, “We must limit access to weapons that can result in such catastrophe and mass murder.” But when gangsters are willing to hand our leading gun-control politicians tens of thousands in bribes — pardon me, “campaign donations” — to facilitate arming said gangsters with fully automatic assault weapons, that’s OK, because “People need certain things”?
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Meantime, I see where the federals have made another attempt to drive Cliven Bundy’s cattle off the land, 80-odd miles east of Las Vegas, Nevada.
But – surprise – about a thousand patriots found their way to little Bunkerville, and after spending millions of dollars to collect a few hundred thousand in “delinquent grazing fees” (and killing and burying dozens of the cattle they were supposedly there to “round up,” including two valuable bulls) the armed BLM thugs and their escort of Homeland Security combat troops backed down on April 12.
Despite being flanked by helmeted troops with their rifles leveled, about a hundred everyday American citizens (including former military, former law enforcement officers, and a contingent from the admirable constitutional Oath Keepers organization) advanced on the pen where the federals were holding some 400 head of Bundy’s cattle, just south of Interstate 15, and set them free. “If anyone on either side had popped off a round, it would have been a massacre,” I’m told by someone who was there.
Why hadn’t the invaders already trucked the cattle away? Congratulations to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert for writing a letter to the BLM, informing them he didn’t want any of those rustled cattle brought into Utah, where cattle from this remote corner of southeast Nevada are usually sold.
I’ll be filing a longer piece on the Showdown at Bundy Ranch — and the real motives of the federals, which have nothing to do with “saving baby tortoises” — for the next issue of the quarterly “Range” magazine, based here in Nevada.
In brief, though, as I write in the May 19 issue of Shotgun News (on newsstands now!): Cliven, who fired the feds as “advisors” for his range management plan decades ago, points out that grazing rights in Nevada are adjudicated by the state, not the federal government, and that his family’s exclusive grazing rights to those lands have been confirmed by the state for more than a century.
More than a decade ago, the BLM managed to get a federal judge of less than average intelligence to buy their contrary argument, that the federal government OWNS the majority of the lands in Nevada, and that Bundy is therefore “trespassing” on “federal land” which Washington acquired in the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo — 15 years before Nevada became a state.
Did you follow that? Wouldn’t that mean that the federal government “owns” all the land from Louisiana to Minnesota to Colorado to Iowa to Montana and points in between, having “acquired it in the 1803 Louisiana Purchase,” and that federal rangers can therefore evict any private party whom they believe to be “trespassing” there, especially if they refuse to sign agreements under which federal officials tell them how to “manage” their land to better protect some supposedly “threatened” weed, bug, or toad?
In fact, the U.S. Constitution sensibly dictates that Washington can own lands “within the several states” only for forts, dockyards, and other “needful buildings,” and that to acquire these parcels it must “purchase them with the consent of the Legislature of the State” in which those parcels are located. Needless to say, the federal government has never sought permission from the Nevada State Legislature to buy the lands in question; it has never purchased them; it has no bill of sale, nor does it pay property taxes on all these lands it “controls and manages” – more than 80 percent of the lands in the state — as any legitimate land-owner would.
So in any dispute between the Bundys, who’ve been on the land with full legal rights for a century, and the BLM — established in 1946 not to collect taxes or wield any police powers but merely to “promote beneficial use of the land” — who’s “trespassing”?
In the old days, the federals rested their management claims on the fact that the Territorial Legislature agreed prior to Nevada’s admission into the union in 1863 that they wouldn’t contest federal control of these lands. But “control” is not ownership, nor is a territorial legislature a “state legislature,” nor is it clear that such actions can be binding on a sovereign state after admission, given that all states are presumed to enter the union on an equal footing.
The federals claim Bundy must be evicted because he’s grazing cattle on a few thousand acres of desert scrub south of the small town of Mesquite without signing a grazing permit and paying grazing fees. But that’s disingenuous. Wouldn’t that imply that — once they get rid of Bundy — they’ll then turn around and lease this range to some other rancher, who WILL sign a grazing permit and pay their fees? In fact they won’t, and the way we know this is that the other 51 ranchers who ran cattle in Clark County in 1950 are all gone, because the federal aim is to set terms so uneconomical – forcing ranchers to pull their cattle off the range in the springtime, the only time there’s enough rain to provide enough graze to fatten the animals — as to make ranching a losing enterprise. This is all supposedly to keep the little baby desert tortoises from being stepped on by the big nasty cattle, when in fact the main predators of desert tortoises are coyote and ravens, which the ranchers formerly suppressed, but which now swarm uncontrolled.
That’s why no one now grazes the other 51 allotments in Clark County, leaving Cliven Bundy to correctly describe himself as “the last rancher from here to the Pacific Ocean” — while “rescued” desert tortoises so clog the shelters that officials are now euthanizing them.
The federals contend they’re doing all this to “protect the threatened desert tortoise,” though I’ve documented again and again over the years (citing such experts as Vern Bostick) that government wildlife experts admit the desert tortoise is “at saturation levels” in the wild, and that all evidence demonstrates the tortoises do better when cattle are on the land, with the ranchers putting in drips and tanks and maintaining the water features.
(In fact, the Kern River Pipeline study found more tortoises on grazed land, but found the very highest concentration of the supposedly ”threatened” desert tortoise near urban golf courses. So saying we need to get ranchers and cattle off the land to “protect” the tortoise is like saying we need to level all the man-made buildings on Manhattan Island to “protect the threatened” pigeon, which in fact is eternally grateful to mankind for erecting all those wonderful window ledges.)
Cliven’s getting older and can’t hold out forever. Someday Eastern environmentalists will succeed in getting federal officials to “establish” their irrational Green religion at gunpoint, all the range cattle will be gone, and no one will be eating anything but hormone- and antibiotic-laced feedlot meat. Hope you enjoy it.